Tired of Tampa Bay Buccaneers games being blacked out on TV because of inadequate attendance at the games? It's also bugging state Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, and he's looking at doing something about it.
"It frustrates me and others," Fasano said in a Political Connections interview airing today on Bay News 9. "You have a stadium like Raymond James Stadium that's been paid for with tax dollars … and now they're going to blackouts so people who paid for that stadium cannot watch the home team? I think we might want to look at some legislation that says when tax dollars are … used to build a stadium, then that stadium cannot have blackout games."
Fasano is uncertain whether the Legislature could force such restrictions on the NFL, but "certainly we can look at it legislatively and say, 'Look we're not going to use tax dollars or give you those tax credits that you've had in the past if you continue to black out games when tax dollars are helping you go along.' "
The Pasco County Republican is an avid baseball fan, and acknowledged he'd like to see the Rays play somewhere besides downtown St. Petersburg.
"We have a very large group of people in Pasco who are big baseball fans. They come from the Northeast, the Midwest where baseball is big. They're coming down here and they'd like to go to a baseball game, but it's just too far away," said Fasano, who did not propose another location or advocate taxpayer-financing.
In the interview airing at 11 a.m. and 8 p.m., lifelong Republican Fasano also declined to rule out endorsing his pal Charlie Crist should he run for governor as a Democrat in 2014.
Crist on wife's switch
Crist's wife, Carole, recently changed her registration from Republican to Democrat, but Crist told Buzz not to read much into it.
"She's a very smart, independent woman" he said. "I'm happy as an independent."
Perry's son in town
Griffin Perry, 28-year-old son of the Republican presidential candidate and Texas governor, had a busy day Saturday campaigning for dad in Tampa. The schedule: a "young professionals" lunch; the Hispanic Republican Club of Hillsborough & Pinellas picnic; the Tampa Gun Show with Pasco County state GOP committeeman Bill Bunting; and the Hillsborough County Fair.
Maddox mulls a move
Former Tallahassee Mayor Scott Maddox is a talented politician, ambitious, and only 43 in a state where Democrats have a short bench of political talent. Maddox, the former state Democratic Party chairman, has fallen short in campaigns for governor, attorney general and agriculture commissioner, but few Democrats expect him to call it quits in politics.
So what's next? We hear some Maddox allies are urging him to run for an open Tallahassee City Commission seat. Others think his best move is to take on U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland, the one-term Republican incumbent from Panama City. The district could get friendlier for Democrats after redistricting, the thinking goes, and Southerland did himself no favors when he recently sounded like his $174,000 congressional salary wasn't worth the hassle of security threats and other sacrifices.
If you want to bury news, you release it Friday afternoon or evening. So presumably, Republican U.S. Senate candidate George LeMieux thought he had little to boast about with his latest fundraising quarter: $403,000 raised in the third quarter, he announced late Friday afternoon. That brings his total raised to about $1.35 million, and the campaign says it has $1.02 million on hand.
Among the other Republican contenders, Adam Hasner topped LeMieux with $535,000 for the quarter, and Hasner has $786,000 on hand. Craig Miller said he raised $226,000 and has $145,000 on hand.
Democrat Bill Nelson said he raised nearly $2 million in the last quarter and has about $7.5 million on hand.
Ethics bill is back
Sen. Paula Dockery, R-Lakeland, resuscitated her proposal to prevent lawmakers from voting on legislation that benefits them, their families or business associates. It marks the fifth time she has introduced the ethics bill.
Currently, senators must disclose conflicts of interest but only within 15 days of their vote. Under Dockery's proposal, members would be required to disclose those conflicts of interest before abstaining from a vote.
Katie Sanders contributed to this week's Buzz.